How To Start A Cover Letter (With Examples)

By Maddie Lloyd - Mar. 2, 2021

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You’ve written your resume, you’ve filled out your job application, and now you just have to write that cover letter.

“Easy enough,” you think. You start by writing the recipient’s name and address, as well as your own. You type in the date, you write the salutation, and then… you stare at the blinking cursor for a full minute before you pull out your phone and start scrolling through social media, hoping inspiration will pop out at you in the form of a meme.

Even if you know what you want to say in the body of your cover letter, the opening lines are often the most difficult to get going.

Instead of staring at a blank screen, follow the steps in this article to write an engaging, memorable cover letter that you can feel proud to submit.

If you would also like help deciding which fonts you should use in your letter and how to write a powerful closing statement, we can help you with that too.

How To Start a Cover Letter

Your resume shows your qualifications, but your cover letter lets your personality and passion shine.

Your cover letter will also be one of many that hiring managers will be reading for any given position, so it’s essential to be attention-grabbing and memorable.

To do this, there are some elements to include in the introductory paragraph (or two) of your cover letter.

  1. Show your excitement about the organization. Companies want to know that their job candidates actually want to work for them and are passionate about the organization as a whole.

    If you’ve had a long history of interacting with the company, explain that. If you haven’t, talk about what you respect and admire about them based on your research about the position.

    Job type you want
    Full Time
    Part Time

    You can also mention any accomplishments or developments within the organization that you’ve seen in the news and talk about how you were excited to see them. This not only shows that you’re passionate about the company but that you’re also invested enough to keep up with news reports about them.

  2. Share your passion for what you do. Hiring managers also want to see that you’re excited about what you do, so express that in your cover letter.

    Talk about what motivates and inspires you, and you can even mention why you got started in the industry in the first place.

    You can also share a belief statement that describes what drives you and directs your actions. Bonus points if it reflects the company’s values and mission. (Just make sure you don’t directly copy them and that you’re truthful.)

  3. Talk about an impressive achievement. While your resume should include your qualifications and work accomplishments, including the one you’re most proud of in your cover letter will help drive the point home.

    Make sure you include as many specific examples as possible about the results of your achievement. For example, you can cite how much money you brought to the company with the new system you implemented.

    Finish up by explaining how you could do the same in this new position.

  4. Tell a story. A story is a powerful way to connect with someone, whether you’re telling it in person or writing it in a cover letter. It also adds some personality and interest to your letter, making it more engaging and memorable.

    Just keep it topical and brief, and be sure you do your research about the company culture to make sure your tone will be appreciated.

  5. Mention a connection you have to the company. If someone who works at the company or is otherwise linked to it referred you to this role, mention that early on in the letter.

    Keep it simple and explain how you know the person instead of laying out everything they’ve ever said about you. Now is not the time to start gushing about them either.

What’s the most important part of a cover letter and why?

Fred Coon
Stewart, Cooper & Coon, Inc.

The opening line.

It must catch the eye, be bold, be relevant to the position you are seeking, and demonstrate your capabilities.

The cover letter is NOT a repeat of your resume. It gives you the chance to share an example of how you solved a problem that a story directly related to the key skills called for in the job description. It also offers you a chance to demonstrate your knowledge of the company and how you fit.

30 Examples of Cover Letter Openings

To help get your creative juices flowing about how to open your cover letter, here are some examples of interesting ways to do that. Tailor them to your situation and voice, and make sure your tone will match the culture of the company you’re applying to.

  1. From the time I was eight years old, I’ve been giving my older siblings advice on how to style their hair. Now I’m a certified cosmetologist and am excited about the possibility of getting paid to help people look their best.

  2. I grew up living and breathing the Denver Rockies. The walls of my room were covered with pictures of the stadium and team, and I painstakingly collected each player’s baseball card every year.

    Even though I couldn’t go to many games, I’d religiously watch them on TV or listen to them on the radio, wearing my purple ball cap that hardly ever left my head, much to my mother’s chagrin.

    Now I work in sports marketing, and I’m thrilled to be applying for my dream job as the Rockies’ marketing manager.

  3. At my Kindergarten graduation, I proudly declared that my life’s goal was to be a waitress. I reached that goal in high school, so since then, I’ve become a little more ambitious, but I still love to take care of people and provide excellent customer service. That passion is what drove me to apply for this position at Marriott Hotels and Resorts.

  4. As a college student, I’ve taken eight career assessments over the last four years, and my results have said I should do everything from being a fragrance chemist to a body painter.

    While I didn’t pursue a degree in either of those, I did realize that they had one thing in common with what I chose: My passion for recognizing and sharing beauty. This is what drove me to pursue a career in music production.

  5. I’ve always been that guy who loves correct grammar. I’ve also always loved learning about the world and the different cultures within it. When I discovered the listing for a position as an editor at National Geographic, you can imagine my excitement at the prospect of getting to combine both of my passions.

  6. I’m the one my team members come to with questions about who is supposed to do what task. These organizational and delegation skills are what will make me a great project coordinator at AT&T.

  7. While I’ve never had the title of “manager,” I’ve been managing teams of people as the most senior HR representative at my current company for four years.

  8. Ever since I first wrestled a package of trail mix to the ground that was marked with the taunting phrase, “Easy-open packaging,” I’ve just become more and more passionate about good design.

    From my degree in industrial design to my last position at Cuisinart, I’ve pursued this passion, and now I’m ready for my next challenge. I believe this role at Apple will be just that.

  9. Four years ago, when my daughter was just six months old, I experienced the very real panic that comes with realizing that you’ve completely run out of diapers. To prevent that from happening again, I subscribed to Grove Collaborative, and now I get a box of essentials delivered to me every month.

    Now, I want to bring that same peace of mind to customers by becoming a customer service representative for Grove.

  10. There are few things as surprisingly difficult as shopping for a new pair of jeans. I believe that purchasing new clothes should be enjoyable, and I want to provide that to people as a personal shopper at StitchFix.

  11. Over the past five years, I’ve discovered that I design all of my PR strategies around one basic principle: People enjoy connecting to other people like them.

    As a result, I’ve created strategies that focus on making companies more relatable and approachable. I want customers to know that the company is made up of people who care about them and want to hear what they have to say.

    These campaigns have earned me four job offers from competing companies and two promotions within my own organization. I want to share the expertise I gained from those experiences with as many companies as possible, so I decided to enter the world of PR consulting.

  12. You might be wondering why a sales associate who worked at a paper company for eight years is applying for a sports marketing position. While the two fields don’t seem to connect at first glance, I believe that my background in wooing customers and my lifelong passion for sports will make me a valuable asset to your marketing team.

  13. Three years ago, I started filling in for our sales team when needed. My job title was still “administrative assistant,” but I quickly grew comfortable with a sales representative’s responsibilities and would cover for my colleagues several times a week.

    Now, my goal is to enter sales full time, and I think this position at Macy’s would be a great opportunity for me to do that.

  14. If you’re looking for someone willing to do things the same way just because “That’s the way we’ve always done it,” I’m probably not the person you’re looking for. If you’re looking for someone who will constantly revisit and redesign processes to make them more efficient, I might just be the candidate you want.

  15. When I took my first accounting class in college, I thought I’d hate it. Instead, I found that I not only enjoyed it, but that I looked forward to doing my homework assignments for that class. This had never happened to me before, so I thought it was worth pursuing.

    A degree’s worth of accounting classes later, I’m ready to put my skills to work in the real world. I can’t think of any better place to do it than at PayPal, an organization I’ve respected since I was a business administration major.

  16. I first encountered Sales Corp. when my business class was given a tour of your facilities. After connecting with some employees there and seeing how you run the company, I was hooked. I’ve been looking for job openings at the company ever since, and now I’ve found one that will fit well with my skills.

  17. I grew up visiting the Denver Aquarium several times a year. It was where I first discovered my love for the ocean and the creatures within it. Since then, I’ve earned a degree in marine biology and worked at an animal sanctuary in Florida for ten years.

    Now, I want to pass on my expertise to others, and I believe I’ll be able to do that through this management role at the aquarium where it all began.

  18. When most people think about working for an advertising agency, they probably think of the trendy, collaborative environment and flexible schedules.

    While I’m definitely attracted to these things as a young professional, what truly drew me to your company was the focus on merging excellence with putting the customer’s desires first, a combination that is difficult to find with advertising agencies.

  19. When I was eight, I built my first treehouse. It was little more than some cardboard and scrap plywood nailed together, and it wasn’t even in a tree, but I did it all by myself. Since then, I’ve grown in my woodworking skills and even graduated top of my class from the City Technology Center.

    Now I’m looking to enter the industry as an apprentice, and I can think of no better place to learn than City Construction Company, an organization I’ve long admired.

  20. I first encountered Great Designs when I attended the 3D Design Conference last year. I spoke with a representative at your company’s booth and felt like he genuinely cared about what I had to say. Imagine my surprise when I saw him enter the stage as the company’s CEO and the conference’s keynote speaker!

    I decided then and there that I wanted to work at a company that values collaboration and good design, so I applied for a job as soon as I got home.

  21. If you were to look in my car, you’d see a sponge attached to my steering wheel and a practice suture kit in my glove box. I use this to practice my different suturing techniques while I wait in traffic during my commute to and from classes.

    I’ve always cared deeply about getting the details right, and I’d love to bring that passion to St. Francis Hospital’s general surgery team.

  22. As a travel writer, I’ve spent most of my career on planes, on trains, in cars of all shapes and sizes, and even on cruise ships. Never have I experienced staff with the hospitality and true love for exploring the world that I did on Princess Cruise Lines, and I’d be honored to further both of those through this position as a travel blog writer.

  23. Last January, I became the top-rated trainer at my gym, and I haven’t lost that position since. Now I’d like to use the fitness training and customer service skills that got me there in the head manager role at Gold’s Gym.

  24. When I visited Cooper Accounting last month, I felt like I had finally found my people. I couldn’t believe that there were others out there who truly enjoyed crunching numbers as much as I did. The atmosphere was electric, and I knew I had to find a way to be a part of it.

  25. When my academic advisor at Central State University told me I’d be required to get an internship to graduate, he encouraged me that getting the experience was more important than finding my ideal company to work for. However, I knew that I’m motivated when I know I’m working for something I believe in. Enter: The Red Cross.

  26. I recently graduated from the University of Indiana, and if there’s one thing I learned during my time there, it’s that I have a lot more to learn.

    I believe being able to work in Governor Hanson’s office would afford me the practical experience and mentorship that would give me the knowledge I need to become a successful professional. I would love to use that knowledge to further his office’s efforts in making our city a better place.

  27. My roommate first mentioned this data scientist position at Northrop Grumman, but as I began to research it, I got more and more excited about the possibility of being a part of such an innovative organization.

  28. When I was 11 years old, I wanted to be a scientist. As I got older, though, I realized that I also wanted to work with and help people. Since then, both of those passions have only grown, driving me to become a Registered Nurse.

    In researching job openings, I was struck by St. John’s Hospital’s focus on innovation and patient care, and I can’t think of two priorities that I’m more passionate about furthering.

  29. After managing projects with over 100 team members apiece for 11 years, organizing teams and overcoming roadblocks has become like second nature for me. Now I’m ready to pass on my experience by training future project managers.

  30. Although I’m enjoying my position as a graphic designer for PetCo, my heart stopped when I saw the position at Burton Snowboards. I’m an avid snowboarder and have always admired Burton’s commitment to excellence down to the tiniest detail.

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.
Maddie Lloyd


Maddie Lloyd

Maddie Lloyd was a writer for the Zippia Advice blog focused on researching tips for interview, resume, and cover letter preparation. She's currently a graduate student at North Carolina State University's department of English concentrating in Film and Media Studies.

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